The Novela Project presents Regional Premiere

(07-15-2009)

The Novela Project presents the regional premiere of Mi Tierra Natal at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, July 26, at the San Luis Museum and Cultural Center in San Luis, Colo.

Mi Tierra Natal (My Homeland) is the result of extensive academic investigation coupled with creative writing. Founder and director, Sandra Santa Cruz, introduced the Novela Project concept at Adams State College in August 2006. Santa Cruz led her students in research methods to understand the history at-large of the San Luis Valley, and the history in particular of the community of San Luis.

Students learned how to conduct interviews in preparation for engaging community residents in recorded interviews. As the course progressed, students were engaged in creative writing exercises and which were developed into a play script. Ultimately, this endeavor finds full expression on stage as an original, full-length theatre production. Mi Tierra Natal is the story of a fiercely proud and independent people who find their way of life constantly threatened by powerful outside interests.

The Novela Project strives to be an authentic cultural representation of the people of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico and does so by incorporating stories, language, folklore, customs, traditions, proverbs, music and dance. "The Novela Project brings the best of what is known as community theatre to the forefront by providing training in all aspects of theatre production, both on and off stage," Santa Cruz said.

Community members have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the production as actors, set builders, stage crew, light and sound operators, designers and box office. While community members are not professional actors, they naturally embody the integrity of native language, speech patterns, gesture, movement and appearance, "qualities that are central to the performance," said Santa Cruz.

The performance will incorporate both Spanish and English languages so audience members are able to enjoy and understand the play via either or both languages. The goal of the Novela Project is to foster a greater sense of pride through increased understanding and appreciation of the community's history and cultural heritage,

Funding for this project comes from the Colorado Council on the Arts. The panel of reviewers raved about the merits of the Novela Project during the 2008-2009 grant competition and again, the Novela Project was given high marks and awarded a grant for its 2009-2010 project. Other support comes from ASC Community Partnerships, the San Luis Economic Development Council, the town of San Luis and the San Luis Museum and Cultural Center.

The Novela Project has already begun some preliminary research with members of the Del Norte community through the support of La Vereda Foundation and looks forward to a third project with an SLV community yet to be chosen.

Tickets are general admission and range from $5-$15. Seating is on a first-come, first serve basis. To purchase tickets, please call 719-587-8210 or purchase at the door one hour before curtain.

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